Here’s what will happen the moment Prince Charles is crowned king
“I think it is unlikely that the Queen will officially retire, or that the Prince of Wales will formally assume the title of regent,” says Carolyn Harris, PhD, historian and author of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting. “In a radio broadcast on her 21st birthday, she vowed to devote her whole life, whether it was long or short, to the service of her people.”
Although comparison has been made to other older European monarchs who have abdicated in recent years, Harris points out they were sworn into office through secular installation ceremonies rather than the Queen’s religious coronation ceremony in 1953, which contained sacred oaths. Even practically speaking, “the Queen is sovereign of 16 Commonwealth realms, and not all of them have a formal provision for a regency,” Harris says. “A regency might complicate the appointment of new Governors General in some of the Commonwealth realms.”
But, this isn’t the most probable scenario. Instead, what will likely happen as the Queen ages is, “The Queen will retain her title and certain royal duties, while her son the Prince of Wales assumes a greater number of her public engagements and increased decision-making power behind the scenes,” Harris says. “The Prince of Wales already undertakes overseas travel to the Commonwealth on the Queen’s behalf, and in the coming years, he will assume more of the Queen’s duties in the United Kingdom.”
4. Prince Charles might not be King Charles
Charles has since rolled back his initial statements on the wording, though. “I said I would rather be seen as Defender of Faith all those years ago because…I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country,” he told the BBC. “And it always seems to me that while at the same time being defender of the faith you can also be protector of faiths.” Charles does have a say in the wording, UCL says, so we’ll have to wait until his coronation to see what he finally settles on.
But what about Charles? “The coronation will continue to be an Anglican service, but finding a place for other Christian denominations and other religions, as happened at the recent royal wedding,” UCL’s Constitution Unit says. “Such people may be invited to give readings; and religious leaders other than Anglicans are likely to be seated prominently, as happened at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service at St Paul’s in 2012.”
“Camilla’s use of a secondary title prompted speculation at the time of her marriage to Charles that she might be styled Princess Consort instead of Queen when Charles becomes King.” But as her popularity is increasing, this seems less likely now.
8. All eyes will be on Prince William
When Charles becomes King, Prince William will take on new titles, including the traditional styling given to the king-in-waiting. “William becomes Duke of Cornwall when Charles becomes King, and will be invested [formally named] as Prince of Wales,” Harris says. But that’s not the only way William’s role will change: because his father is already at an advanced age, it might not be long before Prince William takes the throne himself. “As the Prince of Wales will be in his 70s when he succeeds to the throne, there will be a lot of public interest in William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and how William will be preparing to eventually assume the throne,” Harris says.
9. Charles will likely be a more outspoken monarch
The sovereign is supposed to be above politics, but Prince Charles is actually somewhat of a rebel in his tendency to express his views on social and environmental issues. “In contrast to the Queen, who is careful to avoid expressing strong opinions in public – and instead encourages the people she meets at garden parties, receptions and walkabouts to speak about their own experiences – Charles is known to hold firm opinions on a variety of subjects including organic farming, architecture and sustainable development,” Harris says. “Climate change and environmental conservation are key political issues in the 21st century, and Charles will certainly not be seen as an impartial figure on these subjects, as his views are well-known.”
Plus, the Prince’s candidness may only be unusual when compared to the current monarch. “Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for such a long time, that her approach to her duties has become synonymous with constitutional monarchy in the popular imagination – her predecessors sometimes expressed open political opinions, but the Queen has been careful to remain above politics in the United Kingdom,” Harris says. Even so, “Charles will likely moderate his own approach to public duties to follow the Queen’s example, as the public expects the monarch to remain above politics.”
12. The Prince's brother may get the axe as well
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